INTRODUCTION The 2008 Mumbai attacks were 11 coordinated shooting and bombing attacks across Mumbai. The attacks occurred at Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus, Oberoi Trident, Taj Mahal Palace and Tower, Cama Hospital, Nariman House, Metro Cinema and five other places. The attacks began on Wednesday, 26 November and lasted untill Saturday, 29 November 2008 killing 164 people and wounding at least 308.
By the early morning of 28 November, all sites except for the Taj hotel had been secured by Mumbai Police and security forces. On 29 November, Indias National Security Guards (NSG) conducted Operation Black Tornado to flush out the remaining attackers. Ajmal Kasab, the only attacker captured alive later confessed that the attacks were conducted with the support of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI). He disclosed that the attackers were members of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistan- based militant organisation.
ATTACKSTAJ MAHAL HOTEL AND OBEROI TRIDENT: Six explosions were reported at the Taj hotel- one in the lobby, two in the elevators, three in the restaurant and one at the Oberoi Trident. At the Taj, firefighters rescued 200 hostages from windows using ladders during the first night. Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan of the National Security Guards (NSG) was killed during the rescue of Commando Sunil Yadav, who was hit in the leg by a bullet during the rescue operation at Taj.
When reports emerged that attackers were receiving television broadcasts, feeds to the hotels were blocked. Security forces stormed both hotels, and all nine attackers were killed by the morning of 29 November.NARIMAN HOUSE: Nariman House, a Jewish centre, was taken over by two attackers and several residents were held hostage. Police evacuated adjacent buildings and exchanged fire with the attackers, wounding one. After a long battle, one NSG commando Havaldar Gajender Singh Bisht and both perpetrators were killed.
CHHATRAPATI SHIVAJI TERMINUS The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) was attacked by two gunmen, one of whom was Ajmal Kasab. The attackers killed 58 people and injured 104 others. As soon as the security forces and emergency services arrived, the two gunmen Kasab and Khan fled the scene and fired at pedestrians and police officers in the streets, killing eight police officers.
The attackers then headed towards Cama Hospital with an intention to kill patients, but the hospital staff locked all of the patient wards. Kasab and Khan opened fire on the vehicle in a lane next to the hospital and the police returned fire. Police officers Hemant Karkare, Vijay Salaskar, Tukaram Omble and Ashok Kamte were killed and the only survivor, Constable Arun Jadhav was wounded. After a gun battle with the two, Khan was killed and Kasab was arrested.
CASUALTIES At least 166 victims (civilians and security personnel) and nine attackers were killed in the attacks. Among the dead were 28 foreign nationals from 10 countries who were notable figures in business, media and security services. The bodies of many of the dead hostages showed signs of torture or disfigurement.
INVESTIGATION According to investigations, the attackers travelled by sea from Karachi, Pakistan, across the Arabian Sea. They hijacked the Indian fishing trawler Kuber, killed the crew of four and forced the captain to sail to Mumbai. After murdering the captain, the attackers entered Mumbai on a rubber dinghy. The attackers stayed and were trained by the Lashkar-e- Taiba in a safehouse at Azizabad near Karachi before boarding a small boat for Mumbai. David Headley, a member of Lashkar-e-Taiba, was the chief scout in scoping out targets for Mumbai attack. The arrest of Abu Hamza in June 2012 provided further clarity on how the plot was hatched.
According to Abu Hamza, the attacks were previously scheduled for 2006, using Indian youth for the job. A huge cache of AK-47s and RDX, which were to be used for the attacks, was recovered from Aurangabad in 2006, thus leading to the dismantling of the original plot. In September 2007, ten Pakistani youth were selected for the mission. They tried sailing to Mumbai from Karachi in September 2008 but couldnt complete their mission due to choppy waters. These men made a second attempt in November 2008, and successfully managed to execute the final attacks.
ARRESTS There were ten gunmen, nine of whom were subsequently shot dead and one captured by security forces. Witnesses reported that they looked to be in their early twenties, wore black t-shirts and jeans, and looked happy as they shot their victims. The bodies of the nine killed gunmen were buried in a secret location in January 2010. The bodies had been in the mortuary of a Mumbai hospital after Muslim clerics in the city refused to let them be buried on their grounds.
AJMAL KASAB On January 7, 2009, Pakistans Information Minister Sherry Rehman officially accepted Ajmal Kasabs nationality as Pakistani. During interrogation, when police asked what he understood about jihad, Kasab said that it is about killing and getting killed and becoming famous. By this one will become famous and will also make Allah proud. In December 2009, Kasab tried retracking his confession in court. He claimed that he had come to Mumbai to act in Bollywood films and was arrested by the Mumbai police three days before the attacks.
Several Indian lawyers refused to represent Kasab citing ethical concerns. In December 2008, then Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan said that for a fair trial, Kasab needed to get a lawyer. In April 2009, Abbas Kazmi was appointed as the defence lawyer for Kasab. A trial court on 6 May, 2010 sentenced Ajmal Kasab to death on all the 86 charges for which he was convicted. On his appeal against this verdict, Bombay High Court on February 21, 2011 and Supreme Court of India on August 29, 2012 upheld his death punishment. On September 18, 2012 Kasab moved a mercy petition before the President of India.
REACTIONS Political reactions in Mumbai and India included a range of resignations and political changes. Minister for Home Affairs Shivraj Patil, Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and Deputy Chief Minister R.R. Patil had to resign for taking the formers son and bollywood director Ram Gopal Verma to tour the damaged Taj Mahal and the latters remarks that the attacks were not a big deal in such a large city. Bollywood actor Aamir Khan appealed to their Muslim community in the country to observe Eid al-Adha as a day of mourning on December 9. The attacks also triggered a chain of citizens movements across India such as the India Today Group’s "War Against Terror" campaign.